How To Ferment Radish — The Ealy Homestead

I found this recipe from The Ealy Homestead, a site which I have been following for a long time. If you are interested in food preservation, self sufficiency and simple recipes, this is a recommended site!

Radishes are a spring staple on our homestead. They’re easy to plant and yield in just under 30 days, plus they do well in cool weather. So as soon as the ground is workable, these are usually one of the first veggies I plant. In our house, the first planting of radish is usually consumed […]

via How To Ferment Radish — The Ealy Homestead

Back To Basics: Local Food / Own Grown Food Experiment Starts Now!

I am doing this experiment…again. I tried this 2 years ago, and did not last long with it.  I have been thinking it often due to the coronavirus restrictions, that we should try to have some food plants here for eating if there is another wave of cases and businesses close again, that we have something here. Then I thought that well, I am thinking foolishly, just do the experiment and look that can I even manage 2 days on the few things I am able to grow.

My goal in this experiment, is to reconnect with the source of my food. 100 years ago, people lived in a way that they knew how to grow and produce, preserve their own foods. There was a basic connection to food, a respect for it and a need to master the process oneself. In our current society, we have everything we could possibly want. We can access summer harvested foods from the other side of the globe, in winter, in the food shops. Not only is this very unnatural, but the fragility of logistics and supply chains in order to make such luxury possible is something that must be considered. As the coronavirus restrictions have exhibited; manufacturing, logistics and supply is not always reliable. This is when I had my ‘eureka!’ moment and that knew if I am ever going to make this local food and growing food work, I needed to do this experiment again. I want to share with you the possibilities for someone who is quite helpless with growing, cooking, baking – basically all things food-related (I’m quite nightmarish) – to learn and see that is it even possible to do. I have 2 goals in this experiment. Goal #1 is for me to learn & to be able in the future to not be so dependent on the shops for my food. Goal #2 is to motivate you to think about these things. For you to hopefully, even with small changes, to also feel a sense of independent ability and a closeness to your food as well.

So here we are, launching this experiment…again. If this is the first you have read about this, I will share the basic things:

  • If I can grow it, forage it or purchase it from local farms, I can eat it.
  • If it is produced locally by small producers/individuals, I can eat it.
  • If it is gifted to me, I can eat it. 

Aside from these, I have 2 circumstances which could be variable.  #1 – Although I am trying to avoid visiting the food shops, I will have to go. Some of the things I will need to purchase are items for food preservation such as: sugar, jam sugar, oils, vinegars, spices and salt.  I will also purchase dog food (of course. For the dog, not I) and I am allowing myself purchases of both fish and cheeses, wheat powder & eggs (for baking) and salad sauce – as my luxury purchases.  But that is when I do go to the food shops, which I am trying to avoid. So probably not making those purchases for some time.  Circumstance #2 – food & my husband. Doing an experiment like this can be complicated when the person doing it, does not live alone. Last time I did this, meal times were difficult. We adjusted to eating seperate foods, which was not difficult. The problem came when my husband wanted to surprise me with a nice meal and I was unable to accept. It was not a regular happening, but it did happen. As my goal is to make use of what we have, I do not wish to waste a good meal or a thoughtful gift from my husband. So I have decided that this time, if he makes a nice meal for the both of us, I will eat it. Before you get the idea that he will be cooking for me every evening, he will not. I am quite certain that he will make good use of the opportunity to eat all the delicious foods that I don’t like.

I do have some things I am uncertain about. I am hoping that you will share your thoughts about it, so that we can together decide that are these acceptable or no:

  • Navigating costs
  • ! Food items, example; late season grown food items that I purchased from farms outside the city, but still locally and had frozen or preserved in some way. myself for it to last longer. These are the foods I can purchase when they are available, so it does fit the experiment. These were purchased months prior to this experiment though, so I am unsure that is it ‘breaking the rules’  or not if I eat these vegetables?
  • Ice-cream auto: small local business, but not grown or locally produced food. How does it fit into the experiment, or does it?

I have little doubt that I will lose some weight during this experiment. My weight at the beginning of  this experiment, 31 May 2020: 74,4 kg / 164 pounds.

I am nervous and feel ill prepared. Local food experiment a go-go!

Luck needed!

-Mliae

The Most Wonderful Season

When the sun is shining and the weather is warm, this is what I want to do! Planting 🙂

Maybe I am showing my age, but I love to put plants to grow. Oftentimes, I even have fantasies that it will grow into actual food. You know, the stuff you can eat! But, I fear that that level of success is quite far away. Perhaps not 🙂

HC garden

© Hugh Clack

I really love these box gardens! One day, perhaps, I will become a planting master! But for now, you can consider me the slow-growth charm to all plants…

I have recently been on a binge-search for those heirloom seeds. I think that those original plants are so much nicer somehow. Maybe next year I get my nerve to try them.

I would love to have one of those amazing gardens with cucumber, tomato, melon, squash, salads and herbs, peonies and gladiolus. How amazing would it be!

Learning, learning…all the time!

What do you enjoying doing in the warm summer sun?

-Mliae

*Photo credit: © Hugh Clack

 

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Extreme Lifestyle Experiment: Update #1

Two weeks. It only took me two weeks to completely lose my mind. I’m still going on the challenge, but I’ve already had a major slip-up.

This is how its been going:

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On the first day, I thought I had some potatoes remaining in cold storage. Apparently not, as they had all sprouted in the bag. That wasn’t a great start, but I was able to get to the local store (which only sells local dried foods) and I was happily surprised to find a container of salmon paté so that what was my dinner.

The next day I went to the market where I was able to buy summer squash, small cucumbers, tomatoes, kale and local made habanero mayonnaise (yum!). I felt quite proud of myself and like, Yay I’m gonna do this! However I realized I had made one very large mistake. I embarked on this challenge to save money, to pay off some debt. But guess what! Eating local is expensive! The tomatoes and the mayonnaise each hit me for about €5. ‘OK,’ I thought to myself, ‘You’ve GOT to get this figured out’.

I was eating fresh berried from our bushes for breakfast. A good money saver, can’t get cheaper than free and it fit within my rules. My husband was kind enough to cook rice for a few meals (I can’t make rice…yes, it’s that bad!). Rice is also on my list, so we’re good there. Just fry some summer squash and call it a day. Hubby also made some slow cooker pea soup, which I really enjoy for some reason, so we ate a lot of that.

I did tell my husband that he didn’t have to do this challenge with me. I knew it was a major lifestyle change and I figure since he didn’t actually sign up for it, it wouldn’t be so nice to force him into it. He’s been really great trying to make meals which include things I can also have and then I only have to make whatever I want with it. However, it’s proved extremely challenging to sit there and watch the man eat bread or drink fizzy water without pulling sad puppy dog eyes.

I did manage to tell a couple friends what kind of crazy thing I had set for myself. I was invited to join on a berry picking trip. So this happened…

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I got a whole bucket! 🙂 This went promptly into a jam making session. I’m not so great at jam yet. It turns out kind of watery. But, this turned out really well (for me to eat, at least) and I’m looking forward to having it on cabbage casserole and hopefully some bread too (if I can ever figure out how to make it).

I managed to get some info on local farms that might sell directly to me.  I went, I bought, I  will go back! With this place I now have access to peas, cherry tomatoes (OMG – SOOOO GOOD!), kale, potato, onion, summer squash and turnip. This alone is enough variety to do some canning, eat fresh and make some soups for freezing.

And then it happened. About 1 week in and I got hungry. Not normal hungry, but eat the chair kind of hungry. I don’t actually understand what happened. I have been eating. Quite a bit, actually. But maybe not having all the instant food and whatever in it to make it instant, threw my body into some kind of withdrawal or something? I was so hungry. I would eat and snack and eat but I was still as hungry as if I hadn’t eaten anything. So weird.

So when I got together with a longtime friend of mine the other day, I went off my balance. I cheated. I cheated in a major kind of way. I ate restaurant food (which actually wasn’t outlawed if I was away from home) but then I did it like 2 more times in the span of 7 hours and I got whatever my little heart desired. She was horrified, I’m sure. I don’t feel embarrassed though, because she had been sufficiently warned. And then I shopped. I bought gas water, donuts, cheese bread, mini pizza. Which I kind of hate myself for now because it’s like I’m having to start all over again. I also wonder – how in the hell did people do this? Are we really so spoiled that I thought I was going to die after only 2 weeks?! Two weeks not of dieting, but of eating whatever I wanted, as long as it was locally sourced/made/grown. You know, one really wonders about these things. 50 years ago, eating like this was the norm. Now? Not even remotely normal. Areas are growing singular crops, instead of the formerly diversified ones, because most of those crops are going into the processed food we eat. People were satisfied eating locally. People knew what to do, how to make it work, how not to get bored, what to mix it with so as to maintain healthy systems. Us in modern day? Hah.

I finally got it together and worked up the nerve to try a bit of ‘baking’. Bread is far too complicated at this point, but I did find a fantastically simpler recipe for wheat tortillas. I will be posting the recipe at a later date. I made the tortillas today and it turned out well! Not so pretty, mind you. But they work. You can put stuff in them and they wrap. Best yet, I’m not the only person here who will eat them. Win!

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So that’s how that’s been going. What do you think, is a occasional fall down acceptable in a challenge like this?

I still feel like I’m in for the win though. My husband bet I wouldn’t last 2 days, and I beat that wager by a long distance. (Although he’ll try to argue that I’ve been begging for food gifts from him all along. Don’t believe a word he says about that…). This is harder. Much harder than I actually thought. I’m hungry and I’m cranky but there’s also some weird sense of pride that I feel. Like somehow anyone but me cares that I’m eating berries for breakfast instead of diet shakes. I feel like I’m doing something healthy and constructive for myself (and I know hubby is glad I’m at least trying to learn to cook something). And I feel like I’m doing something good for the local economy. Not just wasting money, but actually investing in something that local people have poured their backs into creating.

To be continued…

Any thoughts on this?

-Mliae

EXTREME Lifestyle Experiment…Can I Do It?

Greetings all and thanks for stopping by! Today I’ve got a big one for you…

We just returned from our trip to the States, and it was so much fun! But now its down to business and I would like to discuss with you something I’ve been thinking about doing. I’d really like your input as to whether or not you think I have just completely lost my mind.

I’ve been rolling over in my mind how to explain this, but there really isn’t a good way to do it that I can find. So, here it is: I’ve decided to set a challenge for myself – starting today (this morning actually, and day one sucked) that I will do a complete 180  degree turnaround and live off the land – or at least locally. In all honesty, even though I’ve put some stuff to grow (fingers crossed) I really only have red currants and rhubarb growing and I’m smart enough to know that there’s no way I can last 2 days with that. I’m also kicking off a year (or thereabouts) of a shopping ban. No clothes, accessories shopping for me! I’ll explain all in the following paragraph. Please hang with me because there’s a lot of info – as this is a YUGE challenge I’ve set for myself. I have no idea how long I’ll actually make it, but we’ll see!

This whole post is surely a bit disjointed, but I do want to get all the facts out there so you can call me on it later. 😉 My motivation is this: I’ve been trying to get our accounting together and I realized that we are spending 100’s of Euros more a month than we should be, at the market. I’ve been thinking alot about how spoiled we (as several generations) are. I’ve been paying more attention at the market and it has started to stun me how easily accessible everything is due to globalization. I mean, I think its only in the past 20 years or so that its become commonplace to find summer fruits in mid winter or autumn root vegetables in the spring. This is not natural. Anyway, things got me thinking about how our grandparents lived. Although they were able to import/export items, it was nowhere near the level we have today. They had to eat according to natural harvesting seasons and also with wars, economic depression and the ration card. Despite all of this, many of them managed to survive and become what is actually one of our healthiest, toughest and most stable generations of the 20th century. And then I look at myself. I have been learning 1-2 ways of planting or preserving every year. But in the grande scheme of things, I’ll be 70 before I can actually live off what I’ve learned. I can’t bake – not for anything. I can cook, but it’s not in the realm of deliciousness – so I’m usually the only one who will eat it. And I need to learn. I have a habit of purchasing ready-made or easy to prepare food.  But the more I look at it, the more I want to prioritize my spending. As I would prefer to be able to pay off my debt (Or at least pay it down somewhat). Creating a life which is more on the self-reliant sphere has catapulted my decision. That and the fact that I really need to learn how to do this. It’s sink or swim time. And I hope I don’t sink!

So here’s what I’m doing: I am living off what I can grow as much as possible and what I can source from local farms and local small business (live fish farm -? I think it exists?, greenhouses and a small shop which sources dried herbs from the area). I am allowing myself gifts. As in, I will not turn down birthday cake if someone gets it for me. (My husband hates this clause because he thinks I’ll be begging people to buy me food ‘gifts’…he may be correct, but lets hope not!) I know that I will need lots of help from friends and neighbors to help me learn and direct me to local farms where I can purchase food items (which will fun to explain, as they don’t even know this blog exists).

I am allowing myself some purchases at the market, as I cannot cook without some things. The items I am allowing myself are as follows:

  • varying wheat flours
  • oil
  • sugar
  • cheese (& maaayyyybbe milk if I need it for casserole, but I think I can do without)
  • eggs
  • yeast
  • dried beans/peas
  • mustard powder (I’m trying to perfect a mustard recipe for gifts)
  • coffee
  • tea
  • vinegar

If I cannot make the items I need with these ingredients, I don’t get it. I have to learn to make my own bread, pastry, pasta and sauces. I don’t feel like I’m cheating with these ingredients, because they are necessary and even the cowboys had access to these items. Besides, I can’t preserve without some of it. So there. *sticks out tongue and wags fingers in ears.

Part 2 of this challenge is that I am embarking on a shopping ban. 1 year if I can do it. I have enough. Ironically, I looked in my wardrobe today and have built up my wardrobe to exactly 30 items. I find it so weird that some people consider 30 items for a season, a minimalist challenge. How? My wardrobe looks so….full!

I don’t know why my mind is so set on this, as it seems like a mission to disaster for this spoiled city girl. But I am determined to make it work. I can tell you quite honestly that I am already seriously missing fruit and mineral water.  I know that I will have troubles, challenges and frustrating days. I will be logging everything so that you can share in this journey with me as much as possible. I plan to do a vlog series about it as well, but no promises because I have no idea how weird I’m going to get.

So that’s my deal. Any thoughts on the matter?

-Mliae

*Photo sourced via Pixabay

Our Rhubarb plants!

I really love it when I can say: ‘Spring has sprung and look what’s springing up for us!’  Fresh from our garden! YYYYEEEEE, I’m always so excited when I see good plants coming up! 🙂 🙂

This past year I have really been into planting, preserving and trying to make the most out of what we can gather from our own property (or at least trying t learn how to). So I’m super excited about our little rhubarb plants. I know these guys will grow big and strong and give us lots of rhubarb juice, rhubarb pie and rhubarb sauce! Do I sound like Bubba in Forest Gump?

Stay tuned for some fun recipes 🙂

How are your Spring plants growing?

-Mliae

 

Foraging – Spring Edibles Pt. 3

I HAD to share this awesome post from http://www.lovelearnwander.wordpress.com
As you probably already know, we have a field of dandelions here. As opposed to being frustrated trying to eliminate them all, I thought it would be really great to make use of them in any way possible. Win-Win, am I right?? So I was THRILLED when I came across these 2 fantastic sounding ‘not your typical dandelion recipe’ dandelion recipes. That syrup is tops on my to-try list this summer! Looking super cool 🙂 A big thank you to Love Learn Wander for allowing me to share!

Love Learn Wander

This week’s foraged goodness is a real little ray of sunshine and is probably blazing its way across your lawns right now – the dandelion. If you missed last week’s instalment on Hairy Bittercress, you can find it here.

Dandelions are so abundant and persistent at this time of year that people spend hours trying to eliminate them – a quick google search tells me that we’re spraying, digging, salting, smothering, even torching (really?!) this gardeners blight – when what we should be doing is enjoying their deliciousness.

The dandelion ‘weed’ can be found just about anywhere grass grows and can be harvested at any point during their cycle, though the leaves do get tougher as they age. Just make sure the land you’re foraging is chemical free (no roadsides!) and you really can’t go wrong. I sent my children over the garden fence to gather ours, they spent…

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Bread, Cheese & Children from Scratch

Hi all! I HAD to reblog this awesome post! I am really looking forward to trying this home cheese recipe, it looks so much simpler than I had ever imagined 🙂 Check out http://www.wildwoodhomestead.com for more cool ideas!

wildwoodhomestead

I spend a small fortune on cheese. Especially soft cheeses, like goat cheese and sumptuous, creamy, expensive real, imported cheeses that pair perfectly with Pinot Noir and peppery water table crackers or smeared across a piece of thinly sliced toasted rye. Yep. This is my vice. Good cheese. Hard, soft, crumbly, whatever, I love it. And if I’m wrong for loving good cheese and crispy, crunchy crackers or bread, then by golly I don’t wanna be right in this life.

GUILTY. AS. CHARGED.

I’ve had some really successful cheese making sessions lately. The kind where the mozzarella actually stretches and with each pull, I simultaneously feel a tear being tugged from my eye as I secretly celebrate my cheese making success while beaming with pride. Like, how boring is my life that my mozzarella making accomplishments leave me verklempt? Let me answer that question for you…

Not boring at all.

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